“You cannot save people. You can only love them.” –Anaïs Nin
Ever since his crisis night, things have been great between The Writer and I. He’s more attentive and interacts with me more intimately. At night he grabs my hand and holds it to his chest when he falls asleep. I’ve gotten over the internalized drama of whether or not I should confront him about where we stand. Before, I thought I was a coward for not saying anything, but also thought I was just being controlling by not wanting to let things play out. A friend asks me what I want from The Writer. I’m honestly unsure. I haven’t organized my thoughts in enough detail to answer the question fully. Then I realize the answer is simple: I want him to care about me. And he does. We have a lot of fun together, and I enjoy his company. Sure I want more but at this moment, things are more or less wonderful.
It’s a typical Monday, which is great as usual. I head over at eight, and we order Indian food. While we’re waiting, he finishes up his writing, and I catch up on the news and unwind from a long day at work. The delivery guy comes, and The Writer answers the door. From his bed, I can hear him ask the guy something embarrassing like ‘how much do you usually get tipped?’ “It’s here,” he says after the door shuts–as if I might have suspected it was someone else at the door. We eat in his living room and while we shovel down our chicken Tikka Masala, he bitches about work. I respond with sharp remarks about his problems, and at 9:58, I drag him back to his bedroom and find the channel our show is on. Our show has become painful to watch this season, which is remarkable considering it was my favorite just months ago. “This show has lost all of its urgency!” I complain. “Not a single story has progressed, and the new characters are total plot devices–not people.” He’s intrigued by what I have to say, and we continue this line of conversation. It’s unusual–he hardly even engages me, just listens intently.
Later, he starts to play a movie. I make it about five minutes before I begin to drift in and out of sleep. “That’s hilarious!” I hear him say as my eyes blink open. “Did you hear that?” He asks. “No. I keep falling asleep.” Disappointed, he turns off the television; “I’m getting tired too. Turn over,” he tells me, tucking his arm underneath mine. He turns off the light, and it’s quiet. “Can you bring me to the airport on Wednesday?” I ask drowsily. “Sure,” he says. A minute later, I’m passed out.
“Hey,” he whispers, poking my shoulder. “Are you awake?” No,” I groan. It must be two hours later. “Do you want to write something with me?” He asks, his voice staying pretty quiet. “Whatever you want,” I agree, rolling over. “I had a meeting with some execs, and they want me to write a movie, but I’m busy and don’t want to write it alone.” “Okay,” I murmur, hoping that it’s the end of this conversation. “I just thought it would be fun to write with you. We can split the money, and it won’t take too long to get it done between the two of us. Besides, if you quit your job, you’ll have a lot of free time on your hands.” “Sounds good. Goodnight,” I conclude. He tosses and turns a while longer. In the middle of the night, I wake up, and he’s gone. He’s moved to the couch in the living room, which upsets me. After a few minutes, I decide I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
The next day, I leave before he gets up and don’t see him again until Wednesday, the day I’m flying to visit an old friend in Michigan. “I’m going to pick up some lunch before I come over. Do you want anything?” I ask. “Let’s just stop for lunch in WeHo on the way to LAX. It’s on the way.” On our way to the restaurant, he rolls down the windows, letting the sunny breeze roll through the car, and I feel like a California kid. Pieces of The Writer’s hair stick together, but it all moves in the same direction. It reminds me of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” “I need to get it cut,” he says noticing I’m looking at it. “Don’t. I like it.” “Really? I don’t know. It gets so hard to manage when it gets long.” “I’ll be pissed if you do,” I tell him.
We sit down and order fancy breakfast food, and I’m kind of quiet. “Who’s picking you up on Sunday?” He asks. I give him a big smile and through my teeth say, “you are!” He’s rolls his eyes but agrees. Then, he stares at someone at a table behind me. “See that guy?” He asks. I nod. “How old do you think he is?” “Shut up. I’m not playing this game,” I tell him. “But do you think he looks older than me?” He persists. “Why? Do you know him?” “No, but what do you think?” I sigh; “no, you look younger than him.” In truth, I’m awful at telling someone’s age. Especially gay men. But they honestly look about the same to me.
As we drive to the airport, he looks over at me. “Your birthday’s coming up soon, right?” “A little over a month,” I answer. “We’ll have to do something for that,” he says then asks me to put my iPod on. A Ladyhawke song plays, followed by “The Magic Position” by Patrick Wolf. “I love this playlist,” he says. “Can I borrow your iPod this weekend?” He asks. No. “How about I make you a playlist tonight, and you can download it online. “K,” he says as we pull up to the terminal. He gets out of the car and takes my luggage out of the trunk then gives me a big hug. “Have a good trip,” he says with a smile. “I’ll miss you,” I want to say but settle on “Thanks.”
That night, I upload a playlist tailored specially for The Writer, and I even give it a hokey title that’s a pun on his name. I send him a link in an email that says, “don’t miss me too much.” He probably read the email, but I never get a confirmation from the site that he’s downloaded the playlist. This bothers me more than it should.
When I get back a few days later, my plane is held up before parking at its gate by about thirty minutes. I inform The Writer of the delays and get really anxious. When I finally make it out, he pulls up. He got a haircut. The Writer is on a work call, so he doesn’t say anything when I get in. Instead, he grabs my lower thigh and squeezes it a few times. He stays on the phone for most of the ride back to his place. I spend the night, but he’s oddly distant.